Ex-Labor Secretary: Some kind of cash handout 'seems inevitable'


Count former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert B. Reich as the latest notable figure who thinks universal basic income will eventually become a reality.

Reich, who oversaw policy regarding the nation's workforce when he served as Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton, says he thinks the rise of automated jobs could mean the United States will have to institute a cash handout program, or universal basic income. Generally, universal basic income programs provide that a government distributes cash payments to all of its citizens, regardless of employment status.

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What’s happening in Scotland in terms of basic income?

Basic Income Scotland

In September 2017, the Scottish Government announced in its Programme for Government that it would support local authority areas to explore a Citizen’s Basic Income Scheme by establishing a fund to help areas to develop their proposals further and establish suitable testing. The amount of funding offered is £250,000 over the two financial years 2018/19 and 2019/20. This complements funding already committed by local authority areas.

While plans are at an early stage, it has been agreed that four local authority areas - Fife Council, City of Edinburgh Council, Glasgow City Council and North Ayrshire Council - will work together to research and explore the feasibility of local pilots of Basic Income in Scotland. The four areas collaboratively prepared and submitted a joint bid to the Citizen’s Basic Income Feasibility Fund on 29 March 2018.  The Scottish Government confirmed on 21 May 2018 that they would provide £250,000 over two years to support the feasibility work in Scotland.

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B.C. to explore how basic income could work in the province

British Columbia has asked a team of experts to explore how providing people with a basic income could work in the province.

The province's minority NDP government promised to implement a basic income pilot in its agreement with the Green Party that allowed it to take office last summer.

B.C. Green Leader Andrew Weaver said poverty is becoming more complex as jobs become less secure and the cost of living skyrockets, especially in the Lower Mainland.

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Why the world should adopt a basic income

The Economist -- Guy Standing

A BASIC income (BI) is defined as a modest, regular payment to every legal resident in the community, paid unconditionally as a right, regardless of income, employment or relationship status.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the case for BI does not rest on the assumption that robots and artificial intelligence will cause mass unemployment or that it would be a more efficient way of relieving poverty than present welfare systems (although it would). The main arguments are ethical and relate to social justice, individual freedom and the need for basic security.

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How a guaranteed income could work

Policy Options

Recently there has been a resurgence of interest in Canada in the idea of a guaranteed or basic income. The essential idea is that everyone would be entitled to some minimum income, provided by regular payments from the government. As individuals’ incomes from other sources increased, whether wages and salaries from paid work, interest and dividends on investments, or income from social insurance programs like employment insurance, the regular guaranteed income payments would phase out (be “taxed back”), and at some point this other income would be taxed under the income tax system, as at present.

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BC government announces study of basic income for all residents

Daily Hive

As part of what it says is an effort to “reduce poverty and prepare for the emerging economy,” the BC government announced today that it has appointed a team to lead a “BC-focused” exploration of basic income.

Today’s announcement follows one by the government earlier this year, that it was planning to provide $4 million over two years to “test the feasibility” of a basic income program in BC.

“The province will look at whether a basic income is an effective way to improve income security, reduce poverty, and address the impact of technological change,” the plan said.

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2018 NABIG Congress Presentations Now Available!

Over 50 presentations made at the 2018 North American Basic Income Guarantee (NABIG) Congress, held May 24-27 at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, are now available

Titled "Basic Income: Bold Ideas, Practical Solutions for discussion of the idea of Basic Income," the 17th Annual NABIG Congress was themed around (1) the converging paths leading to basic income (e.g., health, human rights, automation, sustainability, democracy, etc.); and (2) making basic income a reality, through pilots, policy, and public support. Approximately 275 people, from Canada, the U.S., Mexico, Brazil, Chile, the U.K., Germany, Portugal, Russia, and Australia attended, including approximately 120 people who presented on a wide range of topics. See the final Congress Program.

The annual NABIG Congress is organized by the Basic Income Canada Network and the U.S. Basic Income Guarantee Network. The 2018 Congress was organized in collaboration with McMaster University, the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, Low Income Families Together (in Toronto), and other partners. Very special thanks are given to McMaster University for tremendous on-site logistical support, and to McMaster University, the LIUNA Enrico Henry Mancinelli Chair in Global Labour Issues, the Hamilton Roundtable for Poverty Reduction, Deloitte Canada, the Hamilton Community Foundation, the Sisters of Providence (Kingston, Ontario), and to a number of individuals for their very kind financial or in-kind support.